"Great Learning" is
- to publish righteousness that are of light, so that all can understand it;
- to treat people as family members;
- aim at perfect goodness.
If one knows to stop, then one can control oneself. If one can control oneself, then one can quiet down. If one can quiet down, then one can have peace in one's mind. If one has peace in mind, then one can think.
If one wants to improve one's morality, then one must right one's mind. To right one's mind, one must be sincere and honest and pure in one's intention. To be pure and sincere and honest in one's intention, one must have conscience. To have a good conscience, one must rid oneself of materialistic influences. When materialistic influences are gone, conscience comes. With this conscience, then one can be pure and honest and sincere in one's intention.
所謂修身在正其心者，身有所忿 □，則不得其正，有所恐懼，則不得其正， 有所好樂，則不得其正，有所憂患，則不得其正。心不在焉，視而不見，聽而不聞，食而不知其味。此謂修身在正其心。
To improve our morality, we must right our mind (or heart). If there is hatred, grudge, anger, in our heart, then it cannot be righted. If there is fear in our heart, then it cannot be righted. If we love pleasures, revelry, our heart cannot be righted. If there are worries in our heart, it cannot be righted. If our heart is not right, then seeing we would not see, hearing we would not hear, eat and we taste not. Therefore, to improve our morality, we must right our heart first.
From king to common people, they should single-mindedly make the improvement of their own morality as basic. If this basic is confused, then the ends cannot be managed.
「顧 □ 天之明命。」
Have regard of the Commandments of Heaven that are in the light.
Work diligently towards having a righteousness that is of the light, and delightsome.
If we improve our morality everyday, and persist in doing so everyday, then everyday our morality will be one step higher.
Shujing (an ancient Chinese poetry book) : "The yellow bird knows where to rest itself -- in an isolated corner of a small mountain" (i.e. safe place). Confucius : "It knows where to rest, do people know not where to rest?"
(Note : it means people can find rest only in having good morality, in being righteous.)
If you hold kingship, aim for righteousness. If you are under someone's authority, aim for respect and reverence. If you are a son, aim for honoring your parents. If you are a father, aim for kindness and compassion. In dealing with your fellow people, aim for honesty and keeping promises.
A gentleman has regard for a righteous person because of his righteousness, and cares for relatives because they are his family members.
A base fellow is happy with those who make him happy, and shows favor to those who benefit him.
To have honest and pure intention, one mustn't deceive oneself. One must be honest with oneself.
故君子必慎其獨也。小人閒居，為不善，無所不至，見君子而後厭然，掩其不善，而著其善。 人之視己，如見其肺肝然，則何益矣。此謂誠於中，形於外，故君子必慎其獨也。 曾子曰：「十目所視，十手所指，其嚴乎！」
A gentleman should be cautious when he is alone and no one is seeing, for fear of sinning. A base fellow would sin when he is free at home, and would do all sins. But when he sees someone coming, he would hide his sins and appear to be good. However, others see us as if they can see our lung and liver! Then what good is there to pretend? If one is honest in one's heart, one's appearance will show it. Therefore a gentleman should be cautious when he is alone. Tsang-tse said : "Our neighbours would see us, would condemn us for our sins. Shouldn't we fear this?"
If we cannot teach our family and keep our own house in order, then we cannot teach others.
"Care for those under us as if we care our little child".
(Note : in another ancient writing, there is a teaching "赤子之心", meaning, "Make our heart pure as a child". They are two different teachings. The verse above means that we should care for those under us as if they are our sons and daughters.)
If one family practices righteousness, whole nation will practice righteousness. If one family would give way and let others go first, whole nation will give way and let others go first. If one family loves gains and cruelty, then the whole nation will be in chaos.
(Note : we must be careful with our behaviour, and do not think : our act will not affect others.)
A gentleman would possess a righteousness first, before demanding the same from others. A gentleman would rid of his error first, before demanding others to rid of that error. I have never heard of one that harbors unforgiveness in heart, yet succeed in educating others.
If those in high position honor the elderly, common people will honor the elderly. If those in high position show respect to those older than they, then all people will love brotherly love. If those in high position show compassion to orphans and those who have no relatives to take care of them, then the people will not be rebellious. Therefore a gentleman acts according to set rules.
If we hate being treated that way, do not treat others that way. This is what we call the set rule.
(Note : compare with Jesus' teaching : "So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.")
If we love to do what is abominable in the eyes of others; or if we hate what others regard as precious and is of value, then we are against man's nature, and calamity will come to us.
There is good prospect for a righteous person. One gets it because of faithfulness (in words and deeds) and keeping promises. One loses it because of proudness and laziness.
"Our fate will not remain unchanged."
(Note : it means that if we do righteousness, GOD will bless us. But if we trust in our righteousness and start doing evil, GOD will take away His blessings from us, and curse us instead. Similarly, if we are under curse, and we amend our behaviour, GOD would stop cursing us.)
It will not be : one who is in high position and practices kindness and compassion, yet one's subordinates practice unrighteousness.
It will not be : one who loves righteousness, yet fails to do something.
Our nation do not treasure treasure, but treasure righteousness.
A nation should not regard "interests" as interests, but regard righteousness as "interests".